Belief in God in an Age of Science

Overview

John Polkinghorne brings unique qualifications to his exploration of the possibilities of believing in God in an age of science: he is internationally known as a theoretical physicist and as a theologian. In this thought-provoking book, Polkinghorne focuses on the collegiality between science and theology, contending that the inquiries of these "intellectual cousins" are parallel.
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Belief in God in an Age of Science

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Overview

John Polkinghorne brings unique qualifications to his exploration of the possibilities of believing in God in an age of science: he is internationally known as a theoretical physicist and as a theologian. In this thought-provoking book, Polkinghorne focuses on the collegiality between science and theology, contending that the inquiries of these "intellectual cousins" are parallel.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In medieval times, theology was known as "the queen of the sciences." Not so today. A new dialog between religion and science has begun, however, and in that conversation Polkinghorne, theoretical physicist and Canon Theologian of Liverpool Cathedral, holds a special place. This accessible little book grew from the Terry Lectures the author gave at Yale in October 1996. Polkinghorne discusses new developments in the theology of nature, inquiries into divine purpose and human destiny, and explanations of how God works in the world. He explores prospects for future dialog and the pursuit of truth in the company of both science and theology. The possible rapprochement of scientific thinking and belief in God has been probed in numerous books recently, including Richard Swinburne's Is There a God? (Oxford Univ., 1996). Lay readers may find this discussion exciting but heady; can it be grounded in experience? Recommended for public and academic libraries.John R. Leech, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Freeman J. Dyson
"Polkinghorne [gives] us a polished and logically coherent argument." -- The New York Review of Books
Jerome Groopman
"Erudite and accessible....Polkinghorne has a clear, focused style, and offers much to the reader seeking a synthesis of science with the tenets of established religion." -- Boston Globe
Kirkus Reviews
An elegant, brief foray into the intersections of theology and science. While God-and-science appears to be a bandwagon, with a recent spate of books on this topic, few scientists or theologians could address its ramifications as gracefully as Polkinghorne (Reason and Reality, 1991; Beyond Science, 1996). That rare fluidity stems from his mastery of both subjects: a theoretical physicist of some renown, he is also an ordained clergyman and past president of Queens College, Cambridge (England). This new book is based on a series of lectures he delivered at Yale in 1996 (past lecturers include such august thinkers as Paul Tillich, Hans Kung, and Carl Jung). A primary concern for Polkinghorne is finding the points of consonance between science and religion, but he differs from the apologists in that he seeks these conjunctions in methods of inquiry, not empirical results. In other words, his subtlety lies in his contention that religion and science both engage in a quest for truth, and that this truth is likely to be built on developmental consensus in both disciplines (the book's second chapter explores how Christological debates over the person and nature of Jesus evolved through the centuries, much the same way that 20th-century physicists have considered the nature of light). Toward the end of the book, Polkinghorne outlines future strategies for the cross-fertilization of science and religion. He'd like to see more biologists get involved (to this point, the scientists engaged in the discussion have been primarily physicists), and he maintains that theologians shouldn't shy away from contemplating the repercussions of scientific inquiry. This is a slim volume that raises morequestions than it answers, but it does so in a manner more intellectually satisfying than a dozen of the "mind-of-God" books now on the market. If you read one book on science and religion, this should be it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300099492
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/20/2003
  • Series: Terry Lectures Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 386,134
  • Product dimensions: 4.98 (w) x 7.92 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Ch. 1 Belief in God in an Age of Science 1
Ch. 2 Finding Truth: Science and Religion Compared 25
Ch. 3 Does God Act in the Physical World? 48
Ch. 4 The Continuing Dialogue Between Science and Religion 76
Ch. 5 Critical Realism in Science and Religion 101
Ch. 6 Mathematical Postscript 125
Index 131
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Inspiring and Rational

    This is my second time reading this book, and I am enjoying as much the second time around, if not more! Polkinghorne gives a fresh look at the arguments in both theology and science, and brings the 2 worlds together brilliantly. In this interesting book, Polkinghorne asserts that much of what we do in science is "the creative interpretation of experience, not rigorous deduction from it." Science is not the search for truth but for "verisimilitude," the quality of having the appearance of truth or reality. Scientists can never know when they have absolute truth (104). It has always been clear to me that even in science there is the presence of faith. To believe in a theory, you must see the end result, even before the discovery of evidence upholds the theory. It is a wonderful read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

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